Local businesses typically have had two strategies to get found by their audience online.
- Ranking their website on the first or second page of Google.
- Google Ads.
Recently, we have noticed Google has been de-prioritizing organic search results in favor of ads and what are known as “Zero Click Searches.” These are instances where people are searching on Google, only to get the information they need without needing to visit any websites. But Google understands that it can only get so aggressive in terms of prioritizing ads over organic search results.
Zero Click Searches are affecting local businesses and account for 47% of all search queries.
Google intends to offer users as much value as possible directly within search results – so when people do something that Google cannot directly answer – the chances they click an ad (so Google gets paid) increases. They have gotten particularly good at getting people to stay on search results pages until they click an ad. Sounds familiar since this is Facebook’s tactic as well.
Business owners who rely on traffic from search engines previously just had to worry about the growing prominence of ads – as Google pushed organic results lower and lower on the page. Organic search traffic is now fighting against paid ads and the rapidly growing instances of No Click Searches.
Zero Click Searches on mobile
The real kicker is how Zero Click Searches work in combination with mobile devices. Due to the small screens, Zero Click Searches account for over 60% of searches in some cases. The small screens mean that ads get even more priority on mobile.
When ads are followed by Google’s efforts to keep users from clicking on organic results (answer boxes, etc.) it turns into even more Zero Click Searches.
Google My Business (GMB) can transform how you acquire customers online and turn into a revenue-pumping machine.
GMB has been around for quite a while goes by other names such as:
- Google Places
- Google Maps
- Google Local
- Google Business
GMB has grown in prominence in terms of how and when these listings appear in search results. You’ve seen the map and list of 3+ business on the first page of Google search results.
Even though Google has been getting greedy with its traffic, people will always want and need to find local businesses, and Google knows that. So rather than having people go to your site when they reach that point – they built an entire platform for people to connect with businesses – one that they own.
Believe it or not, Google My Business has the potential to generate more customers than your website.
And at the end of the day, new customers are what is most important.
What the data says…
46% of all Google searches have local intent. [Source: HubSpot]
People are searching for products, services, and information right in their geographic area at a rate of about 1.6 billion searches per day.
93% of local searches now feature Google My Business listings. [Source: STAT Analytics]
That’s a lot of searches featuring GMB listings with a lot of people using Google every day for local purposes.
68% of people contact a business directly from search results. [Source: Search Engine Land]
You are just a tap away from getting a call from a potential customer. If they’re on a mobile device – which we’ve established is already 50% of all web traffic (and growing) – all someone needs to do is tap a link. They could also be calling one of your competitors; to begin with, you need to be there.
88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. [Source: Forbes]
What the data means…
There are two takeaways here. First, they show the importance of Google My Business – especially when we already know that Google wants to send people to a platform they own. And second, online reviews by a trusted third party, such as Google, are at the heart of consumer buying behavior.
It used to be getting testimonials on your website was enough to build trust, but consumers don’t trust that information as much as they do online reviews by their peers. They want to know from others what their experience has been.
Reviews are the most critical piece of data which speaks to the usefulness of Google My Business.
When used correctly, your Google My Business listing can become a high-octane customer acquisition engine. Think about it, people viewing your listing are being pre-sold on doing business with you, because of one of the most persuasive assets a company has – social proof.
Google Failed With This…
Do you remember back in the day a social media platform called G+ or Google+? That went by the wayside in April 2019 when Google shut it down. Google knows they can’t compete with social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Snapchat and TikTok.
But Instead Focused on This…
Google has focused on building a platform around what its users are already doing – searching for local products, services, and information.
Since 2019, Google My Business has added new features that you may not be aware of, such as:
- Posts (like a blog)
- People can ask questions (which anyone can answer publicly)
- Messaging (think of Facebook Messenger – but by Google)
- Customers can book appointments directly on the listing
Most businesses will just claim their listing, and then it’s forgotten. If a past customer happens to leave a review, the company might respond, but that’s it.
To thrive on Google My Business, you must stop thinking about it as a generic Yellow Pages listing, and handling it like a Yelp page isn’t good enough, either. Implementing a local search strategy that includes Google My Business will change everything for you:
- More new customers.
- More returning customers.
- And a plump bottom line.
At Edge Digital, we’ve worked with hundreds of local businesses for over ten years, helping them rank their website on Google and convert my traffic into customers. It’s our specialty.
We have a four-pronged approach we use with our clients.
1. Google My Business Optimization
2. Local SEO-Focused Service
3. Receive consistent customer reviews and manage your reputation
4. Optimize your website for Zero Click Searches
There are many choices of “SEO Agencies.” Many businesses we’ve talked to don’t have a clue as to what their SEO vendor does for them.
We’re different. We start by talking to you about your business, customer journey and sales funnel, objectives, and lastly, expectations. You decide what’s important and our marketing team puts together a plan for achieving those results. Plus, we provide a report each month showing the progress.
Kim works with brands since 2011 to develop and manage their digital and social media strategies; meet company objectives, such as increasing leads, engagement, and website traffic, utilizing best practices, the latest tools and strategies; and develop quality content. She is a problem-solver who loves a challenge when it comes to increasing sales.